Potato and porcini soup

Serves 4

Of all the soups that I make during the colder months, this one is my very favourite – it has very little liquid and could almost be eaten with a fork. It's peasanty, yet has a certain sophistication about it.

1kg/2lb roseval potatoes
60ml/21/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bunch of rosemary
1 dried chilli, crumbled
Sea salt
100g/31/2oz dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 250ml/8fl oz warm water
150g/5oz grated Parmesan

Scrub clean the potatoes and, without peeling, cut into quarter-inch rounds. Place a heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add a tablespoon of the olive oil and add the shallots. Turn the heat to low and cook the shallots for five minutes, stirring from time to time.

Now add the garlic, branches of rosemary and the dried chilli. Cook for a further 15 minutes over a low heat, then add a good pinch of salt and the potatoes. Pour in the water in which you have soaked the porcini and cook until the potatoes are tender. Don't worry if it seems as though there is very little water.

Once the potatoes are tender, add the porcini themselves, the rest of the olive oil and the Parmesan. Taste for seasoning; it will need a little salt. Serve in warmed bowls with crusty, peasant-style bread.

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